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Google Pixel 8 Pro’s Video Boost feature may not be so exclusive after all

Google Pixel 8 Pro’s Video Boost feature may not be so exclusive after all

Google Pixel 8 Pro, with its rear cameras visible underneath the camera plate.

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro launched recently (4 October), with eye-watering price tags and many AI-powered features to match.

Among them are two video-recording features Google said were launching on the Pixel 8 Pro as a Feature Drop for December 2023: Video Boost and Night Sight Video.

Example of a video post-processed with Video Boost, from Google's keynote.

We can only go by Google’s description of Video Boost since it’s not available at launch. Google said that Video Boost “pairs (the) Tensor G3 (processor) with our powerful data centres to apply cutting-edge processing to your videos”. Night Sight Video is a consequence of Video Boost, with both features said to improve video quality by compensating for colour, lighting, stabilisation, and graininess.

Google Pixel 8 rear cameras.

Since the processor is also on the regular Pixel 8 handset, why is Video Boost only launching on the most expensive Pixel phone to date? Here’s a reply we managed to wrangle from our local Google spokesperson:

“Video Boost is only available on Pixel 8 Pro today. It offers some incredible capabilities that we know other Pixel users would love, like Night Sight in Video, but we have nothing to announce today about whether or when the feature might be available outside Pixel 8 Pro.”

That’s not much to go on. However, it doesn’t rule out Video Boost being available elsewhere. With Google’s AI photo-and-video features being cloud-based and accessible via Google’s Photos app, it’s possible to use some Pixel features on other Android phones, or even the iPhone. It's entirely possible that Video Boost could have a gradual rollout to more handsets, with Pixel 8 Pro users getting first dibs.

Google Tensor G3 on the Pixel 8 series phones.

The Tensor G3 is hardly the only smartphone processor with machine-learning models or a built-in neural processor unit for AI tasks. However, the Tensor G3 has more than twice the machine learning models compared to the original Tensor on the Pixel 6 series. More learning models means bigger datasets to work with on-device, which can mean different outcomes despite applying the same edits.

An example is Magic Eraser, an older Pixel feature that got more through Tensor G3: Google said Tensor G3'c computational photography on Pixel 8 Pro lets users remove bigger distractions with improved background prediction and generative AI in-painting to fill in the gaps.

Differences in processing and generative capabilities aside, we’re hopeful that Video Boost can also go to phones older than the Pixel 8, with the heavy lifting done by Google’s cloud servers instead.

Google Pixel 8 Pro.

So why would Google need to do a slower rollout of such a crucial video-recording feature?

Our best guess is that video processing would be taxing on Google’s servers, so they had to keep the feature’s availability to a smaller pool first (e.g. Pixel 8 Pro users only) before releasing it to other phonesen masse.

Want to know more about other Google Pixel 8 features? Don’t forget to check out our hands-on experience at Google’s Singapore headquarters here. Local Google Pixel 8 pricing, pre-orders, and promotions can be found here.

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